Earlier this year, the conventional wisdom was that "medical" marijuana was supposed to be some sort of billion dollar business. Then on March 22nd, I pointed out that medical marijuana is illegal under federal law and there's no way that it's going to develop into some sort of billion dollar business.
Fast forward to May 2nd when US Attorney Dennis Burke wrote a letter to the Arizona State Health Director informing him that those who grow and distribute marijuana in Arizona could be prosecuted under feeral drug trafficking laws.
Now, Tom Horne and Governor Brewer are asking a federal judge to clear up the confusion.
Incredibly, Burke is unhappy that Brewer and Horne are taking the issue to federal court. After all, he thinks the issue is clear. Burke then proves Horne and Brewer right by offering this convoluted explanation of federal policy.
We have no intention of targeting or going after people who are implementing or who are in compliance with state law," Burke said. "But at the same time, they can't be under the impression that they have immunity, amnesty or safe haven."
Dude, that's hilarious. What does it actually mean? If you were a state employee, how would you interpret that statement? Burke apparently means that he's not going to prosecute anyone unless he decides to prosecute someone. Obviously the state cannot implement the medical marijuana law if the federal prosecutor reserves the right to prosecute state employees. And if Burke reserves the right to prosecute state employees who are implementing a state law, what does that mean for the growers, distributors, landlords and others in the supply chain? It obviously means that he can prosecute them at will.
There will be no medical marijuana industry in Arizona. There won't be one store. There won't be one grower. The issue is over. Medical marijuana is illegal.
It would have been nice if Burke had cleared that up, you know, before the election.